Bollywood Build-Up in Big Apple


New York— Time Warner Cable is turning to niche marketing to boost video-on-demand revenue, hoping Indian and South Asian subscribers will shell out $3.95 a pop to view movies from their homelands.

Using the nickname for the Hindi-language film industry, Time Warner’s New York division executives kicked off a new “Bollywood” marketing campaign last week at a reception at the Indian Consulate here.

Time Warner and its Indian movie suppliers are looking to capitalize on celebrations being held in the New York area for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which marks the final day of the Hindu calendar. Diwali began yesterday (Oct. 31), and runs through Nov. 12.

The system currently offers subscribers just six Indian movie titles a month in the “Bollywood” section of its movies-on-demand virtual channel.

The movies — supplied by the BODVOD partnership, formed by 212Media and Schramm Sports & Entertainment Inc. — are subtitled in English.

The comedy, romance and action movies are much longer than English-language VOD titles, at running times of up to three hours apiece.

Time Warner added the Bollywood section to its movies-on-demand offering in August, but didn’t begin marketing the content until three weeks ago, when it handed out fliers for the Bollywood programming at an Indian festival at New York’s South Street Seaport. Barbara Kelly, general manager of the 1.2 million-subscriber New York division, declined to discuss how many subscribers have ordered Bollywood movies since they became available.

Time Warner is currently running ads in Indian newspapers touting the Bollywood titles, to complement a direct-mail campaign targeted at Indian and South Asian households.

212Media principal Neal Shenoy said there are 486,000 Indian and South Asian households in metropolitan New York City.

Shenoy also pointed out that there are more Indians in the United States who are millionaires than any other culture.

In Demand is distributing the BODVOD movies, which Schramm principal Joe Schramm said are available to about 6.5 million Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. customers.

The BODVOD partnership hopes to offer cable operators additional Indian and South Asian content, including music videos, news programming and lifestyle programs, he added.